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Where in the past you could still install any program as a Mac user, you have to bypass the “gatekeeper” today. This is a monitoring tool from macOS, the purpose of which is not to spy on its user, but to prevent the user from installing unchecked software.
In terms of technology, this works in such a way that the installation of a program only works smoothly via the Mac App Store. The reason for this is that Apple first checks these Mac apps - before they appear in the App Store - and makes sure that there is no malware installed there. If they have passed this and other tests, they will be released in the App Store.
If you want to download and install software from the Internet, you get a message from the gatekeeper process, which indicates that the software does not come from the App Store and therefore cannot be installed.
Every Mac user probably already knows the corresponding error message:
"Program XY" cannot be opened because it was not downloaded from the App Store. Your security settings only allow the installation of apps from the App Store.
Basically, it is praiseworthy that Apple tries to provide more security with such functions. Unfortunately, not all programs are represented in the Mac App Store, so every now and then you have to install software past the gatekeeper.
The first way past the gatekeeper is via the macOS settings. Under System Settings> Security there are various options for “Allow apps to be downloaded from” under the “General” tab.
The “Mac App Store” option is activated by default. If you now want to deactivate the gatekeeper completely, change this to "No restrictions". The “Mac App Store and Verified Developers” may offer a good middle ground, because then you can download apps from the Internet, but it will still be checked whether the developer who wrote them also has a developer account with Apple.
The verified developer account itself is not a guarantee that you will not be able to catch malware, but the likelihood that it will come from a developer account is much lower.
I didn't have the option to completely disable Gatekeeper right away. If this is the case for you too, you can activate the option with the following command. You open this for that Port (under Utilities) and enter this:
sudo spctl --master-disable
Now go to System Settings> Security> General and you can also switch off Gatekeeper globally below. However, I would only recommend this if you know what you are doing.
If you want to hide the option again, do this again with the terminal:
sudo spctl --master-enable
If you basically want to keep the gatekeeper active, but as an exception would like to run an app that you downloaded from the Internet, there is an uncomplicated way of doing this. Click the downloaded software with the right mouse button (or hold down the ALT key and press the mouse button) on the program and select "Open" in the menu.
This opens a warning window in which you can confirm that you are aware of the risk and want to start the file anyway. This warning only appears the first time a program is opened.
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.